Jordan Rakei – What We Call Life (2021)
FLAC (tracks) 24bit/44,1kHz | Time – 43:08 minutes | 503 MB | Genre: Soul
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © Ninja Tune
Multi-instrumentalist, vocalist, producer, and songwriter Jordan Rakei is back with his fourth studio album. What We Call Life is his most vulnerable and intimate album to date, lyrically and sonically. While the heart of the record will be familiar to fans of his neo-soul and hip-hop-infused work, here Rakei dives deeper into his sound world, merging electronic with acoustic, and rugged grooves with ambient atmospheres, to create something richer, more detailed, and more textural than before. Recommended if you like Arlo Parks, Hiatus Kaiyote, Loyle Carner and Tom Misch.
It’s a pity that an artist of Jordan Rakei’s calibre remains a “well-kept secret”, a “name that is passed around” or an artist strictly “for those in the know”… Each new album by this New Zealand soul artist, who has been living in London since 2015, reminds us of the subtlety of his writing, the uniqueness of his voice and the depth of his music. What We Call Life, his fourth studio album and third for the Ninja Tune label, is a change of pace from this major voice of contemporary soul and R&B. For the first time, Rakei has produced a record that goes heavy on introspection, with themes of therapy, positive psychology, meditation and mindfulness at its core. “I realised I would love to talk about the different lessons I learned from therapy in my music: about my early childhood, my relationship with my parents and siblings, becoming independent in London, being in a new marriage, and understanding how my marriage compares to the relationship my parents had,” he says. Hard to be more open than that.
To help him put this record together, the New Zealander immersed himself in the music of artists who have made no secret of their vulnerability: songs by Laura Marling, Scott Matthews, Joni Mitchell and John Martyn helped him write What We Call Life. “Their lyrics are usually very honest, and sometimes not even ambiguous,” he says. “I was jealous of how open they were, when my stuff in the past had been more like commentary.” This interweaving of influences gave birth to a soulful album which is modern in its form but timeless in its content. Its refined combination of electronics and acoustic sounds raises up the level of the production. This record is so good that Jordan Rakei soon won’t have to remain a “well-kept secret”, a “name that gets passed around” or an artist “for those in the know… ” – Marc Zisman
1. Family (03:27)
2. Send My Love (04:04)
3. Illusion (03:14)
4. Unguarded (04:14)
5. Clouds (04:12)
6. What We Call Life (03:53)
7. Runaway (03:40)
8. Wings (03:25)
9. Brace (05:44)
10. The Flood (07:15)